Good morning gang!
I’m gonna start with a story and see where we end up…
It was June 1994, I was a senior about to graduate from Boonton High School. The Rangers had just defeated the Nucks, and my ribs were still sore from the celebratory dive I had taken into the stick shift of my buddies Jeep two days before after game 7… summer was a few days away, I was about to graduate, all I had to do was take one more final exam and…and freedom!!! Things were looking great!
Only problem was there was a “conflict of interest”, the Rangers Stanley Cup parade was scheduled for Thursday morning June 16th and so was my last, final exam. It was a written gym test!! I figured I could afford to get a zero and still pass the stupid class… or I could just take the makeup right? I was convinced high school was a long drawn out form of torture; just a place I had to visit daily to stay out of trouble… but it wasn’t going to interfere with “priorities” that morning!
Anyway, a sleepless night led to a sunny Thursday morning, I’d barely slept. I rolled out of bed, donned my glowing LEETCH jersey and I was out the door… (I swear I was floating that morning). My buddies and I were skipping finals and proud of it… This was the Rangers!!! This was THE CUP!!! This was history, and I was not about to miss it…
So…we met early and headed to NYC… We parked illegally in Hoboken, since a parking ticket was less than parking in a lot… and hopped the PATH which was full of Ranger fans..
We stepped onto the platform to a sea of blue. It was Ranger chaos! The entire city was buzzing, literally…haha! The parade was crazy, we were standing probably 20 deep, like being smushed into the stage at a concert. We were all Broadway Blueshirts that morning… the “LETS GO RANGERS!!” chant reverberated up the Canyon of Heroes, pressing against the buildings as the Cup made its way up Broadway. “LETS GO RANGERS!!” bum, bum, bumbumbum “LETS GO RANGERS!” Still gives me the chills… There was so much energy… it was sweet!
We hung out for a bit and hit the train again… back to Hoboken, I was seriously on a magic carpet ride that day, a ride that crashed and burned as I pulled into my driveway that afternoon…
Both of my parents knew I was going, however the principle, Mr. Hino had called our parents and wanted to know why I was not in school… well I was sick of course, and funny thing was, Sean was sick, and so were Bill and Frank… all my best friends were sick… all on the same day… duh!… My mother came around the corner and her first words were…”I told you not to go! They are not going to let you guys graduate!”…Mr. Hino was no dummy, and he carried a big stick.
Friday morning homeroom the last day of school, the voice of the nice lady was gone, replaced instead by Mr. Hino’s. His voice ripped through the loudspeaker system to every classroom in the building, “Would Drew, Sean, Frank and Bill please report immediately to the front office”. I couldn’t help the small smile in the corners of my mouth as I got up and headed out the door. All four of us paraded down the hall past the tall red lockers…our own, much smaller “Canyon”, to the front office.
Mr. Hino was a character right out of a Charles Dickens novel. His fat face turned sweaty and red, and his huge belly rolled as he pounded the desk with his fist, demanding a confession… the seams of his suit were fighting to hang on and avoid a blowout. Wow was he pissed! He ‘interrogated’ us, trying to get one of us to admit we were all at the parade…he knew we were all die hard hockey fans… we played dumb…but he knew…
So Mr. Hino, if you’re reading… you finally got your confession.
Anyway I was thinking about our beloved Rangers and I figured I could maybe steer a conversation on this summer’s player additions. I don’t want to get into salary so much, just whether or not the trades/signings made sense and improved the team. I got the sense last summer that Sather was unprepared for the loss of Jagr, Straka, Nylander (summer before) etc. and Sather was just trying to fill holes with bodies. A lot of the signings seemed more like panic moves… not well thought out, almost knee-jerk. Sather added, Naslund, Zherdev, Fritsche, Voros, and Rissmiller on offense and Redden and Kalinin on defense (is that all of them?)
But this summer he seems different…(unless of course he makes a boneheaded trade right after this is posted, or doesn’t sign #17). He signed Gaborik, Higgins, Prospal, Brashear, Boyle, Arnason, Lisin, and Kotalik…to replace Betts, Orr, Sjo, Gomez, Mara, Andropov and Zherdev…are there more?
I think the BEST moves were, trading Gomez and landing Gaborik, Higgins and Prospal. We finally have an elite goal scorer if he stays healthy, and a nice amount of grit and scoring in Higgins and Prospal.
My biggest issue is the 4th line which under Torts isn’t used much. Why not keep Betts, Orr, or Sjo? They were a bargain, and with Hank our PK was fantastic. Under Renney they played too many minutes but I think they’d be a great line to throw out 1 or 2 times a period in Torts’ system.
Are the players who will replace these guys better? Why sign Brashear? Loosing Orr and signing Brashear in my mind was the worst signing this summer. No matter which way I look at it, I still can’t wrap my head around that decision.
I like what I see for the most part, and we’ve kept our youth and added more great prospects…The future seems brighter with Grachez, DZ, Anisimov, McDonagh…
Only time will tell if in the near future, I can once again roll out of bed, don my glowing Leetch jersey and head to the Canyon of Heroes.
Carp, thanks for the privilege, this was fun.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey, it’s Carp. Great job, Staal Wart. Just wanted to let you know that the Rangers’ Fan Fest scheduled for today has been postponed until tomorrow, in case you were among the subscribers who planned to attend. Check the Rangers’ web site for details.
CORRECTION: Had it wrong, sorry. The Fan Fest was scheduled for this weekend. It’s now scheduled for Sept. 5. That’s what you get for posting after midnight, all blurry-eyed, after Seinfeld of course. Check the Rangers site for details.